‘Empire’ ratings hit new high with season finale

Story highlights

NEW: 16.5 million people watched the season finale

The show's first season ended Wednesday night

The soundtrack topped Billboard's album chart

CNN  — 

Fox’s smash hit series “Empire” had its season finale on Wednesday night, and the ratings once again grew.

According to Deadline, the drama reached 16.5 million viewers, up 10% from the 14.9 million who tuned in the week before. The show has managed to grow its total audience every week since its premiere, a rare feat in the television landscape.

Deadline notes that it’s the best showing for a new series in a decade.

Most fans were not disappointed with Wednesday night’s season finale.

As the show aired, #EmpireFinale was a worldwide trending topic on Twitter, and the show got its most tweets ever during the two-hour finale.

The show about the passionate Lyon family and the drama surrounding them and their record label has been a TV phenomenon, with ratings growing weekly. Its soundtrack scored a rare success this week, debuting in the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s top 200 album chart, topping Madonna’s “Rebel Heart.”

Danny Strong told Deadline that he and fellow “Empire” creator Lee Daniels have steered the series to be both socially conscious (issues of race and sexuality were central to the plot) and night-time soapy.

“I think that’s one of the secrets of success to the show,” Strong said. “That it’s working on both levels, and the layered character drama grounds the juicy soap turns. So the soap turns are a blast, but we have this drama there that also keeps it emotional and real.”

In January, the network announced plans for a second season.